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Lillian Karabaic and Personal Finance

How Lillian Karabaic Uses Ziggy as Her Personal Finance Muse

A little glitter makes everything better—and that includes personal finance! Ziggy Stardust and kitten videos may not be the first things that come to mind when you think about getting educated on money matters, but that’s because you haven’t met Lillian Karabaic.

Lillian is a personal finance coach for millennials, teaching workshops and hosting the weekly podcast, Oh My Dollar! Despite working in the nonprofit realm and earning a modest income, she has traveled to 31 countries and remains debt-free. Lillian is passionate about helping artists and freelancers feel comfortable making money decisions, and she is the author of Get Your Money Together, a purr-sonal finance workbook to help you budget your money and save for retirement.

Lillian Karabaic joins us to explain how she stumbled into personal finance and why David Bowie is a part of her approach. She shares her personal secrets to avoiding student loan debt and saving money on minimum wage. Lillian offers advice on FAFSA access for homeless LGBTQ youth and addresses affordable healthcare as the #1 hurdle for the queer community. Listen in for insight around effective budgeting based on your values and learn to channel Ziggy Stardust as your personal finance muse!


Topics Covered

How Lillian uses David Bowie and kittens to teach finance

  • Excellent way to disarm people, shift expectations
  • Facilitates a real conversation about money

How Lillian stumbled into personal finance

  • Frugal by necessity working for small nonprofits
  • Spending in accordance with values
  • 401(k) workshop for co-workers

How to save money despite a small income

  • Increase earnings with a side hustle
  • Get creative (i.e.: queer housing coop, bike to work)

How Lillian was able to avoid student loan debt

  • $5,500 scholarships from working at AmeriCorps
  • Parent income no longer counts on FAFSA at age 24
  • Social service experience attractive to private institution

Lillian’s advice for homeless youth on accessing FAFSA

  • Appeal directly to the institution
  • Consider emancipation if under 18

The three routes to independence on the FAFSA

  • Military, marriage and grad school

Lillian’s ‘you’re only ready when you’re ready’ philosophy

  • Understand that relationship with money can change
  • Must make personal decision to change status quo

Why people tear others down for reaching big financial goals

  • Caught up in narratives about what’s possible
  • Accustomed to a lifestyle based on a belief system

How good and effective budgeting starts with your values

  • ‘You do you’ = cardinal rule of personal finance
  • Determine WHY behind spending, plan accordingly
  • Track spending and create systems to avoid regret

How Lillian channels Ziggy Stardust as a personal finance muse

  • Budget is living document
  • Values evolve as reinvention takes place

Why healthcare is the biggest hurdle for the LGBTQ community

  • Challenge to find queer-, trans-inclusive doctors
  • Employment and gender identity discrimination
  • Risk of getting fired if declare partner on insurance

Lillian Karabaic gives advice for the queer community

  • Take advantage of free healthcare navigator
  • Don’t ignore political issues

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